Alfred and Constance is one of those places that I've wanted to visit since it first opened. I even made arrangements to have drinks/food there but fate intervened and so far, it hasn't happened. Since getting back from Europe, I almost despaired to see that the guys behind Alfred and Constance have branched out a couple of new venues. What hopes do I have of ever catching up? Oh well I won't complain; now it seems, more and ever that Brisbane is getting exciting in the dining and drinking department.
I had a great opportunity to try Alfredo's Pizzeria last week. My friends Jaws and Blossom and I met up Friday night to check out the RAWartist exhibit at the Arena, Fortitude Valley. In particular, I wanted to see some of Elle Will's work up close because she is an amazing artist; killer with coloured pencils, and single-handedly inspired me to start drawing again.
After we were all arted out, we needed food and booze stat. This was especially the case for me, after surviving my first week of work in over 3 months. Luckily, we were in the valley where inexpensive late night venues were aplenty.
I remembered Alfredo's Pizzeria and once Jaws got wind that it was a pizza outlet, he was all for it and we made a direct bee-line to the venue.
The place was absolutely packed! We approached from Alfred Street, which was relatively dark and quiet all along, up until the point we were directly outside the pizzeria. Noise, light and the attractive scent of Italian food wafted out onto the street. We squeezed ourselves in and were lucky enough to score what appeared to be the last table available.
The space is comprised of a smallish room that half opens out onto the street but I don't recall any actual outdoor seating. The bar and cashier is located along the long wall, and leads up to an open pizza kitchen. The decor is dark and rustic (which is the current trend, and I dig it), constrasted by a huge, brightly lit feature wall of a tattooed old man devouring pizza.
I was thrilled to see cocktail jugs under the beverage list. That's something else that more and more venues are introducing to their menus and I love the concept. Cocktails are great as is but cocktails on a larger scale, less sweet/fancy but more volume and perfect for sharing? Now that is a winner and over summer, I doubt I'll be drawn to anything else.
Sicilian Sunset - white wine, pineapple juice, strawberry syrup,fresh basil, seasonal fruit and ginger ale
My group went for the Sicilian Sunset. It was refreshing, like dulled down pineapple juice with a herby twang, slight fizz (from the ginger ale) and not at all too sweet. In short, it was dangerously drinkable.
We opted for two of the pizzas to share. Jaws did the honours of selection and went for the colourfully named American Idiot and Rock the Casbah. Our pizza varieties were only available whole but there were a few simpler versions that you can buy in single slices.
The pizza didn't take too long to come out considering how busy the place was. Besides, we had our drinks to keep us entertained. Amusingly, when the food was brought out, all three of us were quiet for a full 5 minutes or so as we inhaled our first slices.
The pizzas were placed on elevated pizza stands. I'm not sure if it's just my imagination but it felt like this freed up more table space?? Is that even possible? Anyway, I was the only wanker of the group who actually used cutlery on the table and needed the extra space. My excuse is: braces.
Rock the Casbah - moroccan spiced chicken, drunken raisens and minted yoghurt
I started with Rock the Casbah, which we casually referred to as 'the chicken one'. I thought it was good... the chicken wasn't that stand out in terms of flavour but the pieces were juicy. I find that to be the biggest critisism of chicken on pizza so the fact that it wasn't dry was a big positive. Pops of raisin added the most interest in taste.
American Idiot - braised beef short rib, gorgonzola, pancetta and barbeque sauce
As I was praising the chicken pizza, Jaws and Blossom finished their first slices of American Idiot ('the rib one') and started on chicken. I heard lots of declarations of how the rib one was so much better so I couldn't wait to dig in and see for myself.
A couple of bites of rib pizza later, I was sold. It's not that the chicken one was bad, it's that the rib one is amazing. I maintain that my favourite thing about my whole 14 weeks in Europe (tied in with a luxury accomodation in Santorini) is pizza in Italy. Now, this pizza wasn't lke what I think of as authentic Italian pizza. Sure, the base was nice and thin but the toppings were creative and fancy whereas in Italy, they stick to traditional combinations. However unconventional as it is to have ribs on pizza, it is incredibly delicious. I love ribs in general though it is a nuisance to eat and very messy (not to mention a pain to cook well). In this case, the tender, melty flesh was conveniently torn from the bone and laid across the pizza base for us. It was sweet and charred and sticky, offset with the unexpectedly good match of blue cheese. We all loved this pizza and I would recommend it to anyone, even if you aren't a blue cheese fan.
By the time we finished up at Alfredo's (around 10pm), it was much quieter and there were more tables free. One of the things I was most drawn to about this venue is that it opens till midnight on weeknights and until 3am on weekends. Brisbane needs more of these late night food options because as good as a takeaway kebab is, sometimes you just want more. I'm really glad that Alfredo's is available to give us the option of pizza that isn't just greasy giant New York Slice ripoffs.